5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Job 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
February 8, 2015
Public Policy – Supporting Women
Are women important?
Apparently Mark thought so when he wrote this gospel. Often we are not told much about the people that Jesus heals. Here the story is written in a way to clearly indicate it is a woman that Jesus heals. We should also note that this is among the first of Jesus’ healings, again emphasizing the important of a woman being healed.
We must see women as important. Women are our mothers, wives, and daughters. It is from the womb of women that life emerges. Even in the Old Testament in the midst of a very patriarchal culture, we hear of great women like Deborah in the Book of Judges. There are books in the Bible like Ruth and Judith named after women. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus makes a point to include women even though in those days genealogy was tracked through the male side.
Unfortunately, even today some women are treated poorly. Women can be treated as mere objects for slavery or for lustful acts in human trafficking where they are bought and sold like goods in a store. Today is actually the memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita who herself was a slave for many years. Pope Francis has called for today to be a day of prayer for the end of human trafficking.
All life is a precious gift but yet pregnant women can face discrimination at work. Women (and men) can be treated unfairly when they ask for time off for their children.
Women (and men) can missed out on advancement opportunities when some employers see their children as hindrances to the parent giving “their all” to their job.
Women don’t always get paid equal wages for equal work. Women can be discriminated against for housing when they are the victims of domestic violence. When seeking orders of protection, they have to stand before their abuser in court.
We need to speak up for women (and men) who face drudgery and misery and simple unfairness. It is part of our baptismal call to speak up for the disadvantaged.
This year our diocese has chosen as its public policy issue to support women. Hopefully you have seen the articles and insert in the bulletin in recent weeks. For the last couple of years the governor has put forth legislature with ten points supporting some of the issues I have mentioned. Nine of the ten points are important and in keeping with our Catholic faith.
Point ten would expand abortion and allow non-medical personnel to perform abortions. So the Catholic Church has stood opposed to it and asked for the other nine points to be voted on separately.
This year bills have been presented doing this. The State Senate has actually already passed a bill with the nine points in it. It is now up to the Assembly to deliberate and vote. So our petitions are geared to the assembly this year, asking them to vote for the nine points.
This is important. I hope you have read the material in the bulletin. The same material is also available on our diocesan website. This week, Suzanne Stack from our diocese will be speaking at St. Catherine’s (information in the bulletin) about these issues.
After Mass today, members of our Service Team are here to direct you to the petitions. We will have tables on both sides up front and one in back.
Sometimes it just seems simpler to not get involved. We like to avoid controversy but if we don’t stand up and speak out, how can we expect anything to change.
God has given us the gift of life and with it an inherent dignity for all men and women. Do we do what we can so that others have not just life but a good life?